Leonard Edmondson: A Collection of Works from the Fifties

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32 East 57th, 2nd Floor, NY 10022, New York, USA
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Leonard Edmondson: A Collection of Works from the Fifties

New York

Leonard Edmondson: A Collection of Works from the Fifties
to Thu 12 Nov 2020
Tue-Sat 10am-6pm

Artworks

Refuge from Fancy, 1953

Etching with aquatint on paper
5 x 11 1/2 in.
FG© 205879

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Flying Machine, 1956

Etching with aquatint on paper
9 1/4 x 7 3/4 in.
FG© 206726

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Blue Circle, 1951

Gouache on paper laid on cardboard
9 3/4 x 13 in.
FG© 206668

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Untitled XIII, 1955

Watercolor on paper
16 x 9 in.
FG© 205581

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Flex, c. 1950

Etching with aquatint on paper
11 x 16 in.
FG© 205885

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Opera Season, 1959

Gouache and tempera on paper
12 1/2 x 18 1/2 in.
FG© 205575

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Salon, c. 1950

Gouache and ink
13 x 19 in.
FG© 205873

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Interdependent Attitudes, 1953

Etching with aquatint on paper
14 1/2 x 17 3/4 in.
FG© 205882

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Untitled XVI, c. 1950

Watercolor and ink
14 x 20 in.
FG© 205584

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Ebb Tide, c. 1950

Etching with aquatint on paper
14 x 20 in.
FG© 206716

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Untitled XV, c. 1950

Watercolor, colored pencil and ink on paper
12 3/4 x 22 1/2 in.
FG© 205583

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Letters Toward Experience, c. 1950

Etching with aquatint on paper
14 3/4 x 19 3/4 in.
FG© 205883

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Untitled, c. 1950

Watercolor on paper
15 x 21 in.
FG© 139714

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Untitled XII, 1956

Watercolor on paper
15 x 22 1/2 in.
FG© 205580

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The Red Bull, c. 1950

Serigraph on paper
13 x 26 in.
FG© 205884

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The Parade, 1952

Collage
16 3/4 x 21 3/4 in.
FG© 205860

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Treasure Song, 1953

Tempera on paper
21 3/4 x 18 in.
FG© 206717

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#2, c. 1950

Ink and gouache on paper
17 1/2 x 25 in.
FG© 206698

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Untitled, 1956

Watercolor on paper
26 x 20 1/2 in.
FG© 139715

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Untitled, 1956

Watercolor and ink on paper
26 x 20 1/2 in.
FG© 139716

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Untitled V, 1951

Tempera on paper
20 1/2 x 28 in.
FG© 205591

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Untitled 21, 1959

Oil on board
17 x 36 in.
FG© 205854

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Untitled #28, c. 1950

Oil on canvas
24 x 32 in.
FG© 206691

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Collateral Ribbon, c. 1950

Oil on canvas
26 x 30 in.
FG© 139718

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Untitled I, c. 1952

Oil on panel
24 x 36 in.
FG© 206681

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Untitled 1952, 1952

Oil on panel
24 x 36 in.
FG© 206682

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An Occasion for Surprise, c. 1950

Oil on canvas
28 x 38 in.
FG© 205574

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Jardin des plantes, c. 1950

Oil on canvas
28 x 42 in.
FG© 139717

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Untitled, c. 1950

Oil on masonite
36 x 36 in.
FG© 139742

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Images, 1954

Oil on canvas
34 x 47 in.
FG© 205852

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139718-Edmondson-1500-Horiz

View the exhibition catalogue here.

Leonard Edmondson (1916 – 2002)
Leonard Edmondson, a California native, a painter, a printmaker, an educator, and an author, was born in Sacramento in 1916. Edmondson studied at the University of California, Berkeley, where he graduated in 1942 after earning his B.A. and M.A. in Fine Art. Between 1942 and 1946, Edmondson served in the U.S. Army in Military Intelligence. When he returned from service, Edmondson embarked on a distinguished teaching career in Los Angeles that spanned five decades. Concurrent with beginning teaching, Edmondson became absorbed with Klee and Kandinsky, studying Klee’s Pedagogical Sketchbook and Kandinsky’s theoretical writings.

Although renowned for his work as a printmaker, Edmondson used a wide variety of media in his art. By 1950, he made an abrupt change from figuration to abstraction, cited by the artist as a journey of discovery, inspiration, and meaning in his work. The following year was pivotal for Edmondson. He learned advanced intaglio techniques from Ernest Freed at the University of Southern California. His first solo exhibition was held that year at the prestigious Felix Landau Gallery in Los Angeles. Then in 1952, his first solo museum show was mounted at the de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA.

From 1954 to 1956, Edmondson was appointed head of the design department at Otis College of Art and Design. His paintings continued to garner acclaim, appearing in important national venues, such as the 1954 exhibition “Young American Painters” at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, an exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1956, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s Biennial of American Painting in 1957.

Edmondson’s abstract works of the 1950s are allover compositions in which biomorphic shapes float through an atmosphere of soft color. Often, his palette consisted of limpid hues of translucent rose, terra-cotta, pink, gray-blue, and yellow. Edmondson’s art is concerned with cognition; titles such as Interdependent Attitudes, Collateral Ribbon, and Letters Toward Experience demonstrate his interest in relationships, both conceptual and formal (the latter comprising space and color). His paintings and prints share a delicate line, a concern with the tonal gradations of textured backgrounds, and a refined elegance.

After the fifties, Edmondson had continued success in both his teaching and artistic careers. He spent a year in New York City on a Guggenheim Grant working at the Pratt Graphic Center in 1960; he became the chair of the art department at California State University in 1964, and in the early 1970s, he and a group of artists formed a studio called the Pioneer Press Club. A studio Edmondson and his fellow artists used as a place to experiment and where Edmondson created his universally respected book, Etching, which was published in 1973.

(Brock, Mary & Acton, David. Leonard Edmondson: The Art of Discovery, Mike Curb College of Arts, California State University, Northridge, 2013)

“The excavation of the unconscious and dreams that the Surrealists advocated proved to be very fertile for both figurative and non-figurative work, though perhaps even more for the latter. Edmondson definitely saw himself as an “Abstract Surrealist” and also as a “Romantic”, which makes sense because in many ways, Surrealism is in the Romantic tradition. “I sometimes think of my painting as Romantic,” he wrote in 1957, “in the sense that these paintings are a search for a truth not found in ordinary circumstances or established customs but discovered only out of a personal resolution.” Edmondson’s use of the word “personal” does not mean that the work is only comprehensible to the one who made it, or that its horizons are limited to the artist’s own circumstances. On the contrary; the discovery of the deepest level of the personal leads to an expansion of its meaning, so that the personal ends up encompassing that which is beyond it. As Edmondson wrote on another occasion, “I feel that my value as a painter lies in revealing a personal world which in turn becomes, when it is complete, a universal world.”
– John Dorfman, Senior Editor, Art & Antiques Magazine

After returning to Pasadena City College in 1956, Edmondson continued his printmaking activities. Flying Machine reflects his refining of his technical skills and his continual inspiration of his favorite artists. This print reveals his sensitive use of aquatint to create organic patterns that suggest forms and shifting atmosphere as well as to promote an ambivalence between figure and ground. The title of the print reveals that the Klee-like figures are inanimate objects rather than living forms. He worked the copperplate delicately, using transparent hues to create an atmospheric, dream image.
David Acton, Author and Art Critic

“My painting is not art of rebellion, but one of discovery and sharing. I have found satisfaction in the spontaneous, often compulsive, act of drawing and painting.” – Leonard Edmondson

“The artist is a product of the society that nurtures them, and that society is dynamic and complex. They are responsive to the unrest of their society, which sets in to search for new and unpredictable ways of expressing themselves. Ways that will reflect the experimental nature of his ethic will, at the same time, reveal the artist’s nature.” – Leonard Edmondson, 2002

all images © the gallery and the artist(s)

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